Monday, November 8, 2010

Cooking Lesson: Fancy Hamburger Helper

Rese and I decided it was time for her to learn how to cook.  At the ripe old age of almost 10 years and 7 months, the gal was way past due for learning how to rustle up some grub.  Following her recent acheivement of earning a cooking badge in Girl Scouts, I thought she might be ready.  After a brief tutorial on how to load the dishwasher, turn on a disposal and a tour of our spacious kitchen, Rese was ready.  For our very first meal, we decided to get fancy, realllll fancy.  On tonight's menu was Fancy Hamburger Helper!  How fancy you ask?? .... Pretty darn fancy.  Rese helped to brown the hamburger meat, and I showed her how to drain it into a can (the pot was too heavy for her to hold).  Next she measured out the milk and water, and stirred in the mystery cheese packet and noodles.  After a massive search for a lid that would fit, we added the finishing touch.... a whole heaping cup of frozen vegetables.  Rese was pretty amazed at how the steam and heat of the cooking Hamburger Helper would steam the veggies, and how, even without the wonder of tv, it would be ready in just 10 minutes.  Pretty good first cooking lesson, the girl might have a future in this! :)

Here is the little chef... she is a cutie, just like her mother!

And not to be left out, her brother in his fancy, er, manly Transformers apron (made by my #1 student aide, Sheila Nicolas).


Here is a picture of the finished product!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vanessa's Shepherd Pie

For all of my Shepherd's Pie lovers out there, here is an easy take on Shepherd's Pie.  This recipe can be on the table ready to eat in 30 minutes flat, and you are still making a delicious home cooked meal for the family.

Let me know how the recipe works out for you, our family thinks it is pretty fantastic!

Vanessa's Shepherd's Pie

1 lb. lean ground turkey or beef
1 bag of frozen veggies
2 small cans of tomato sauce
1 box of instant mashed potatoes (cheese flavor is good!)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degres.
2. In a small pan, brown meat and drain excess grease.  Season to taste.
3. Add frozen veggies and tomato sauce to meat, and cook on low for 3-5 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
4. In a seperate small pot, prepare instant potatoes following instructions on box.
5. In a casserole dish, pour the meat mixture in the bottom of the dish.
6. Using a spatula, spread the potato mixture on top of the meat mixture to make a "crust".
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes until potatoes look golden brown!
8. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oroweat Sandwich Thins

I know most of us take our lunch to work, school, wherever to try and save some money, eat healthy or to make sure we have something we actually want to eat for lunch.  Enter in Oroweat Sandwich Thins.  This whole wheat wonder is the best thing to hit sandwich bread in forever.  At only 100 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 1 gram of fat for BOTH halves, not only are they good, they are good for you.  A typical slice of bread can run you 60-90 calories PER SLICE, and they are full of stuff you just don't need to be eating.  Sandwich Thins are sturdy, so they aren't soggy when you are ready to eat the sandwich, and they are a little thicker than an actual slice of bread.  I  buy these here in Dallas at Sams, and they are very economically priced.  Other bread makers have jumped on the sandwich bun/thin bandwagon, but Oroweat Sandwich Thins are the all time best, hands down.  They even come in three varieties for those sandwich connoisseurs, Whole Wheat, Honey Wheat, and Multi Grain.  Try them out, they will change the way you eat a sandwich for life!  Check them out at for yummy sandwich ideas, bread varieties, store locator and more.... enjoy!

Poached Eggs

For all those out there still seriously trying to keep up with their New Year's resolutions, I have your new favorite breakfast item.... a poached egg.  Eggs are delicious any way you serve them up, but being that I am trying to eat healthy, I haven't had these sweet little balls of goodness in.... well, it's been so long I can't remember.  At only 74 calories, 5 grams of fat and 2 weight watchers points (for those who count them), this is a high protein, hunger satisfying way to start the day.  Poaching an egg requires ZERO added fat, all you need is a pan and a little bit of water.... how much healthier does it get?  There are actually two ways to poach an egg, but after testing both methods the "in-water" method wins hands down.  It's faster, easier, and you don't have to find a cup or Saran Wrap!  I have listed both methods, so try them out and let me know which is your favorite one!  I eat my poached eggs on Orowheat Sandwich Thins, and just use one halve.  It's 50 calories of whole grain wonderfulness, and you can add a little butter if you like. (All images courtesy of Google)

Poached Eggs
1. In a small skillet, pour in a 1/4 cup of water plus a sprinkle of salt and bring to an rolling boil.

2.(In Water Method) Gently crack an egg into small bowl or cup. (This is to make sure the egg is fresh/blood free, and that the yolk doesn't break on you!)

2. (In Bag Method) Line the inside of a coffee cup with a piece of Saran Wrap.  Gently crack an egg into a seperate small bowl or cup.  If the egg is fresh and the yolk is in tact, slide the egg into Saran Wrap lined cup.  Pull together four corners of Saran Wrap and secure with a small chip clip. This bag will be inserted into the skillet.

3. Turn the heat down on the skillet so it is an easy boil, and GENTLY slide the egg into the water.  Take care to not break the yolk when transferring from the cup to the skillet. The egg white will spread out in the water momentarily, it is supposed to do that! :)

4. Let the egg boil for about 3-4 minutes, depending on how firm you like your yolk.  Use a spatula to wiggle under the egg to prevent sticking.

5. While your egg is cooking, toast up your favorite slice of bread.  When you egg is done, use a spatula to remove the poached egg from the water and set on a paper towel to absorb the excess water.  Transfer to your toast and enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

How to Bake a Potato

Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of people out there who can not bake a potato!  How does one go through life not being able to create the flaky, carb packed deliciousness that is a baked potato?  Here are the basic steps to bake a potato, that you can top with pretty much anything and enjoy! :) (Images courtesy of Google)

Step 1: Scrub the potato
There is a ton of dirt and junk that comes on a potato (it does grow in dirt) so make sure and scrub it with a veggie brush, hard sponge or good strong elbow grease.
Step 2: Poke the potato
Flip the potato over several times, poking it with the tines of a fork.
Step 3A: Coat the potato
Coat the potato lightly on all sides and sprinkle with salt.
Step 3B: Wrap in foil (instead of coating the potato)

Wrap the potato in foil, completely covering it, without coating it in oil.
Step 4: Bake the potato
Place potatoes directly on rack, either in foil or coated in oil.  Bake it the oven on 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on size of potato.  Potatoes should be brown and crispy (if oil coated) and soft and squishy on the inside.

Step 5: Enjoy the potato!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Puppy Chow

Being the kitchen queen that I am, I decided to start a new blog to post some great recipes we have tested at our house.  Hopefully you will all get a kick out of this and be able to use some of these yourself!

For our inaugural post, I give you..... Puppy Chow!  A big crowd pleaser, the kids LOVE this stuff.  It is easy and fast, and great for family movie nights!  Enjoy, and let me know what you think! This is a great recipe for the kids to help with, as the only equipment used is a microwave, spoon and ziplocs!

Puppy Chow

1 cup Jif peanut butter
1 cup Country Crock butter (softened)
1 bag of Nestle chocolate chips
1 teaspoon of vanilla
9 cups of Crispix (or any rice) cereal
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1. Combine peanut butter, butter, chocolate chips and vanilla in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 60-90 seconds, stirring at 30 second intervals. Chocolate should be smooth and slightly shiny.

2. In a large bowl, pour in 9 cups of Crispix cereal.  Pour half of the chocolate mixture on cereal and toss gently.  Add in remainder of chocolate mixture until cereal is WELL coated.

3.  In a gallon sized ziplock, add 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Carefully add in half of the cereal mixture.  Seal bag and shake vigorously.  Open bag, add in another 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and shake again.

4. Repeat same process in second ziplock with remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar and remaining 1/2 of cereal mixture.

5. Let cool and enjoy!  Store tightly sealed in ziplock bags.